Matteo Righetto presents THE SELVATIAN PATH

Tuesday, May 28, 2024 - 9 p.m. - FREE ENTRANCE

Biography: Matteo Righetto is a professor of Humanities, living between Padua and Colle Santa Lucia (Dolomites). He made his debut with Savana Padana (TEA, 2012), followed by the novels La pelle dell’orso (Guanda, 2013), from which a film with Marco Paolini was made, Apri gli occhi (TEA, 2016, winner of the Cortina d’Ampezzo Mountain Prize; Feltrinelli UE, 2024) and Dove porta la neve (TEA, 2017). For Mondadori he wrote the “Trilogy of the Fatherland” – which includes the novels L’anima della frontiera (2017), L’ultima patria (2018), La terra promessa (2019) – and, together with Mauro Corona, the “alpine syllabary” Il passo del vento (2019). His trilogy has become an international literary case with translations in many countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, Germany, and the Netherlands. For Feltrinelli he published The Meadows After Us (2020) and The Apple Room (2022). For theater he wrote Da qui alla Luna, produced by the Teatro Stabile del Veneto and brought to the stage by Andrea Pennacchi. In 2019, he received the Special UNESCO Dolomites Award.

Descriptive text of the book:
“With her eyes turned to the full moon Tina recited, ‘I do not seek money and I do not seek power. I do not seek fame, glory or vanity. I seek no justice except that which the mountain teaches me, and I seek no faith except that in the spirit of the Earth. I seek only me.'”

It has been raining for more than a month in Larzonèi. In the small village at the foot of the Belluno Dolomites, elders swear they have never seen so much water fall from the sky. And under the water they gathered on November 2, 1913, for the Day of the Dead Mass. All the families in the area are there, even the Thalers, with their only six-year-old daughter, Katharina. Suddenly and inexplicably, in the middle of the liturgy, the child disappears into thin air. The whole village searches for her in the woods all night long, in vain.

Little Tina reappears alone the next day, just as the rain finally ceases. She is fine, but she has no recollection of what happened to her, and strange and malicious rumors begin to circulate among the villagers. Soon for everyone Tina becomes the strìa, the witch who was taken from the dead, who met the devil. The only refuge, the place where he finds peace and safety, is Mount Pore with its forests, streams and wild animals that make it alive.

Tina Thaler is already a legend, an old hunter living on the mountain, when we meet her in The Apple Room. In these pages we delve into her life, backwards in time, until we discover the mysteries that surround her and the courageous choices that lead her to be the guardian of nature in the Dolomites, like an ancient spirit that walks through meadows and peaks and that, like wild animals, lets herself be seen only if she decides to.

Matteo Righetto takes us to Larzonèi at that dramatic time when forests and wild animals were drastically cut down, the Great War mowed down soldiers, and Ladino identity was torn apart. If the events are somber, the author’s poetic style, without ever mystifying, weaves with enchantment paranormal phenomena, archaic local traditions and a relationship with plants and animals tinged with wonder.